Building a fire pit
There's no need to send your budget up in flames, because it's easy to build a fire pit.
One of the best summer pastimes is to sit by a fire pit on a beautiful evening. Whether roasting marshmallows, or just enjoying the ambiance of the fire, it's a relaxing break from the day.
Eric Liskey is the deputy gardening and outdoor living editor with Better Homes and Gardens. He says to first check local regulations to make sure fire pits are allowed. Then, choose a site far enough away from the house or other structure. It should also be in a spot that's large enough for everyone to gather around safely.
You can put the fire pit below ground or above, depending on your taste.
"You want it tall enough to contain the fire," he says. "If it's sunk down in the ground, then you'll want to build that fire ring maybe down a foot, and then extending 6-to-12-inches above ground. If the entire unit is above ground, then you'll want 12-to-18-inches at least above the ground level. You certainly don't want any risk of any hot coals or burning logs or anything falling out of that fire ring."
Landscaping blocks are a popular option for creating the fire pit. If you want a more stylish pit, apply a surface bonding cement to the exterior of the pit and add fireproof bricks to the top of it. There isn't a rule that a fire pit has to be a circle. You could make it a square, rectangle, or whatever suits your style.
Liskey says you'll want to pay special attention to the base.
"Usually you want the bottom to be gravel or sand, or like a paver base," says Liskey. "And the main reason for that is you want good drainage especially if your fire pit is recessed, you don't want that to become a pond every time it rains so you want a good 6-inches of paver base, and a lot of people put sand on top of that just to give a little nicer surface to build a fire on."
You may be required to have a screen on top to prevent the wind from blowing around hot debris.
Find more tips for building your own fire pit
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